Flu season is here, and the only things more infectious than the assorted flu viruses are the myths that surround them. While those who unintentionally spread the fake flu facts are doing so with the best intentions in mind, what they say often overshadows what people really need to know about the flu.
We’re here to set the record straight. When it comes to the flu, it’s important to know fact from fiction.
Myth 1: Vomiting and other stomach issues are flu symptoms.
What is commonly referred to as the stomach flu isn’t the flu at all. It’s actually gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It’s usually caused by a virus, but can also be brought on by bacteria. The real flu, or influenza, rarely causes stomach problems.
Myth 2: Flu shots give you the flu.
Neither the vaccine administered with a needle nor the nasal spray vaccine will give you the flu. Vaccines administered through needle either have “inactivated” flu viruses or contain no flu viruses at all. The nasal spray does contain live viruses, but they have been weakened and cannot cause infection. Side effects of the flu vaccine can include low-grade fever, soreness at injection site, aches, runny nose and cough.
Ginseng root is an herb that has been used for thousands of years to promote healing and vitality throughout the body. American Ginseng has been studied for the past number of years to examine it’s benefits as a stress reducer, immunity booster, digestive and anti-aging aid… just to name a few! The National Institutes of Health has even declared American Ginseng an endangered species because so many people try to harvest it for its many valued uses.
So why should you find more ways to sneak some more of this super beneficial herb? Here are 5 BIG reasons:
1. Ginseng Prevents Colds and Flu
Consider swapping or supplementing your over-the-counter cold remedy with a dose of ginseng. Increasing evidence is validating the effectiveness of a ginseng extract daily around flu season can help prevent cold or flu symptoms. Sniffles already settle in? Fear not: it is also likely that ginseng helps minimize symptoms and shorten the duration of your cold because of the high levels of polysaccharides, a complex carbohydrate known to boost immune response, according to this recent study.
2. Ginseng Decreases Stress
Looking for some support for your hectic, busy life? The ancient Chinese began using ginseng to nourish the “Yin” or the part of us that tends to get overstimulated. To this day, ginseng helps promote balance, increases energy, and replenishes adrenal function. Research has found that the substances released in ginseng directly affect the adrenal glands, where stress hormones are produced. Prolonged stress causes adrenal fatigue, causing unattractive symptoms like chronic low energy, weight gain, anxiety, depression, and decreased immunity. Let ginseng help you prevent those!
We’re incredibly close to spring, but that does not mean that cold and flu season is gone just yet. Here’s a list of delicious foods that also help strengthen the immune system and stave off germs and illness. Because you should not have to sacrifice your taste buds to stay healthy and eat well.
This superfood, which is made of ground sesame seeds, is most often used as a paste. Tahini can be used as a dip and it’s also added to other foods—including hummus and baba ghanoush—to enhance flavor. Yes, it is high in calories but sticking to two tablespoons a day is just fine, especially considering the high amount of magnesium and zinc which are both important for building a stronger immune system.
Winter brings a lot of things: holidays, snow, chilly temperatures and, unfortunately, cold and flu season. The pesky viruses behind these ailments can make you feel miserable and really put a damper on your beginning-of-the-year plans.
When you come down with a case of the sniffles, develop a cough, or feel achey all over it can be hard to figure out if you have a cold, the flu, or something else entirely. We’ve broken down the facts about this season’s bugs to help keep you healthy.
I am often asked if it is appropriate to practice yoga when sick with a cold or some sort of energy-zapping bug. Some experts are convinced that rest is the best medicine when not feeling well, but practicing a little bit of yoga when you are sick can be beneficial.
The following is an explanation of why yoga can help restore your health while you are fighting an illness.
Yoga stimulates the immune system by flushing swollen lymph nodes and circulating white blood cells throughout the body. Gentle inversions such as downward dog help to create a small amount of pressure on the lymphatic system so fluids can flow freely and help the body fight infection.
The key point to remember is that too much yoga is not going to be beneficial. The body uses a lot of energy when it is sick, and stealing some of that energy so you can do a full yoga practice is not advised. Practice just a few poses, and make sure you have a lot of time to rest in between each pose. If your body is telling you to stop, honor its request and take a break. (more…)
Growing up, I remember singing Mary Poppins’ song, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” While I didn’t understand the song, I knew that it was catchy. And while I still cringe at the thought of taking cough syrup, especially because of the high fructose corn syrup that can be found in most bottles, it seems sweet relief is on its way. According to a new study, as reported by FoxNews, a spoonful of honey could help kids and parents both cope with nighttime coughs.
The new study, published in Pediatrics, shows researchers from Israel took 300 kids, ages 1 to 5, and had them try 1 of 4 nighttime cough treatments. Parents would give their children 2 teaspoons of honey or one of three placebos 30 minutes before bed. The following week, on a 7-point scale, parents rated how their children slept. The study, led by Dr. Herman Avner Cohen of Tel Aviv University, found children who were given honey slept better and reduced their coughing more than those who took the placebo. Parents also reaped the benefits by sleeping through the night! (more…)
High fructose corn syrup, found in sodas, cereals and baked goods, has become a food bad guy for its link to obesity and diabetes but it might not only be food the sticky stuff is lurking in. Some common cough and cold syrups use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as their sweeteners, the most popular offenders including Vicks, Delsym and Robitussin brands.
Cough and cold syrup makers could use other sweeteners like sucrose but HFCS is inexpensive to manufacture. High fructose corn syrup is a chemically made sugar that primarily contains fructose (fifty-five percent,) glucose (fourty-five percent) and water. The good news is that the companies clearly list HFCS as an inactive ingredient on their labeling, which means it will have no effect on suppressing a cough, for example.
“One teaspoonful of pure HFCS has 3.8 grams of carbohydrates and is about 15 calories,” Mary Hartley, RD, our registered dietician, states, “but 1 teaspoonful of cough syrup is not one-hundred percent HFCS.” The amount HFCS that is in cough syrups compared to the rest of the ingredients is not something that is clearly labeled on their packaging. When I tried to contact a representative from Vick’s about how much of the sweetener was in their product, the rep told me the information was proprietary and legally they may not be allowed to release the information.
Getting the sniffles? Fall and winter are the time of year when people seem to be more susceptible to colds. It might be the change in temperature or it may be all the bugs that your kids are bringing home from school, but most come down with at least one cold when the temps drop. Regardless of feeling under the weather, most of us can not drop everything we are doing to rest and recuperate like we should. The average cold can take seven days to almost two weeks to recover from, but there is hope. There are many over the counter products and herbal supplements that may shorten the duration of a cold and help you get back to feeling a hundred percent.
Echinacea is an herbal supplement that is often used to prevent a cold or shorten the time you have one once it starts. It is believed that echinacea works by reducing inflammation to help deal with cold symptoms. The most common side effects from echinacea supplements are fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and muscle aches, but I do, however, think that many of these symptoms could be caused by the cold itself. If you are allergic to certain flowers like mums, ragweed or marigolds you may become allergic to echinacea.
Maureen Minnehan Jones is the author of the new book Wisdom to Wellnes: HealingYour Emotional Sufferings so the Physical Healing Can Follow. Ms. Jones has worked in the healthcare field for over 38 years. Her career path began by working as a registered nurse but eventually evolved into the practice of more alternative and holistic healing methods.
Maureen contends that the occurrence of disease often has an emotional underpinning. She has developed a technique she calls the “Modus Operandi (MO) Technique.” This technique consists of 12 steps that serve to heal the emotional suffering which she believes to be instrumental in the healing of physical disease.
Ms. Jones firmly believes that disease is triggered by the body and everyone possesses what she refers to as “The Common Thread of Disease.” This common thread consists of four separate emotional sufferings which are: resentment, anger, powerlessness, and a lack of love. It is the existence of all of these that together create a virtual “perfect storm” in which disease can be sparked by a particularly emotional event according to Ms. Jones.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m sick is take a long, hot shower without the bathroom fan on. A hot shower can loosen muscles, relax the mind and clear congestion. New research is suggesting that steam inhalation may do more than loosen mucous and congested sinuses, it could actually provide a cure for the common cold.
Most colds are caused by the rhinovirus which is rendered inactive at temperatures above 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Logically, one can assume that steam treatments, which raise the temperature in the nose to the required 109 degrees, would kill any rhinovirus that is present. There are some studies that back up that logic but, unfortunately, the results are mixed. Only three out of six studies showed supporting evidence that steam inhalation can cure colds. According to The New York Times, the remaining three studies “found either a worsening of symptoms or no change at all in antibody levels or shedding of viruses.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks us to “give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday tips.” They even created a song, The 12 Ways to Health. Yes, it’s cheesy and a little overzealous but if it doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, then I don’t know what will!
“The first way to health, said the CDC to me: Wash hands to be safe and healthy.” Crowded gatherings and lots of shopping help contribute to cold and flu season. Wash your hands regularly and properly to keep yourself from getting sick!